Friday, November 02, 2007

EasyJet and the API

Piers Ford, one of regular writers at Travolution, adds his thoughts to yesterday's news from EasyJet about its new (and let's face it, long awaited) API:

So EasyJet will dip its toe in multi-channel distribution early in 2008 with the launch of an API that will allow it to formalise its business with selected third parties, mainly in the corporate travel sector.

Distribution development manager Jerry Dunn says that while easyJet’s roots are steeped in direct distribution, the time has come for the airline to consider other channels without compromising its low-cost message.

“We prefer to take direct control,” he said. “Between 6 and 10% of our sales are made by third parties without our permission, usually using inefficient and unreliable screen-scraping technology. We want to take more control of that, and an API licensed to selected third parties, tying them into our terms and conditions, will allow us to do that.”

Dunn says the API would also allow easyJet to manage a more robust fare structure with third parties. However, it will not be engaging with the leisure sector.

“We need to engage and understand the opportunities that are there, casting our net wider, for example, on comparison sites where we can offer our Stansted and Luton flights in direct competition with Heathrow,” he reckons.

“But we will only deal with additional channels that we feel are going to be effective.”

Contrast the thoughts of Dunn with Kristie Goshow, group director of e-business and customer development at luxury supplier Jumeirah, with whom he shared the platform.

Giving a perspective on the future from the other end of the multi-channel spectrum, Goshow says the customer is now setting the leadership strategy.

“They own it and we manage it,” she says. “Every channel is an opportunity. E-commerce directors will have to become directors of opportunity. Analytics will have to be cohesive across the channels. Marketing teams will have to reflect their customers and we’ll have to recruit more behavioural analysts and fewer salespeople.”

It is interesting to see how two very different suppliers are tackling the new world of distribution: one by focusing on its customers, the other by reaching out to partners. A clear signal of the far-reaching commoditisation of one, and the service culture needed by the other.

More detail from the EasyJet and Jumeirah speeches.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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1 comment:

Ed Whiting said...

Jerry has a put a trade friendly face on EasyJet - Good news!

Today I know that there are many travel agents and DP tour operators packaging together an EasyJet flight with an accommodation and making a good margin on the accommodation and extras without having to reply on getting commission from the airline. I suspect that this will be a more lucrative channel to market for EasyJet, one where once intergrated by XML they can control thier distribution channel more effectively, especially if they block the screen scraping!